Bulls victory this weekend is 'vitally important' - Rassie

football14 June 2024 06:00
By:Brenden Nel
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Rassie Erasmus @ Gallo Images

A Vodacom Bulls victory over Irish juggernaut Leinster in Saturday’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship semifinal will be a boost to the Springboks ahead of next month’s test series against Ireland.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus told journalists that a win for the Bulls would be “very important” in taking another step forward in Europe, and would help the Springboks in broader terms as well.

The Boks face Ireland next month in a two-test series that is highly anticipated, with the defending World Cup holders facing the only side that beat them in France 2023, and who have subsequently dominated the Six Nations.

And with several Springbok prospects playing for the Bulls this coming weekend, Erasmus said he was looking forward to the clash and hoping the Bulls would get into the final.

“It’s very important. As much as I would love to have them in our camp and be with us every minute, all countries are striving to have a franchise like Leinster. They do sometimes lose big matches but they are consistently in the top four, host finals and that gets transferred into the national team,” Erasmus explained.

“So for us if the Bulls can pull this one through. I think it will be really, really tough but if they can pull it through, and it means that we have to play without the Bulls, but a South African franchise goes through to the final, I think that is very important and will boost us overall to eventually get Champions’ Cup victories as well. I think the URC is another step and it isn’t just the Stormers that does well, so it is vitally important.”

Erasmus added that certain players from the Bulls could well make their appearance against Wales if they lose the clash and are out of the URC, but added a caveat that it would be unfair to expect a debutant to play a test with just three practice sessions under their belt, indicating that the only likely additions are set to be players like veteran Willie le Roux or World Cup winner Marco van Staden in that scenario.

“In certain positions, we’ll have a few young guys next to each other, then some of the Bulls guys understand how we want to play and change a few things. Most of them have been at the alignment camps,” he said.

“A guy like Willie le Roux might be someone who could just help settle down some of the combinations. So depending on how the guys do and injury-wise we will see, but it wouldn’t be ideal for them to just have trained three training sessions and play a test match against Wales.”


Erasmus did also smile when asked about a possible reunion with his Springbok sidekick Jacques Nienaber, who is up the road from the Bok hotel preparing with his new side Leinster for the semifinal.

Erasmus was jokingly asked if he would ask Nienaber for any “secrets”, eliciting a laugh from the coach.

“No, I would never do that to him. We are planning to try and meet with their coaching team with our coaching team. We will try and catch up and have supper or a beer or two, but that will be purely to catch up,” Erasmus explained.

“He is with his coaches and preparing for his game. We will never take a chance like that to put him in a position where he can lose the trust of the Leinster coaches. We will never put him in that position and the same on the other side. But he always remains a close friend, that’s for sure.”